July 21, 2009
Statement by AFT Executive Vice President Lorretta Johnson on
Baltimore City Public Schools' Improvement on Maryland School Assessment
Baltimore City Public Schools students posted strong gains in Maryland School Assessment (MSA) scores for the second consecutive year in 2008-09. The number of students who exceeded standards in both reading and math increased dramatically, and the number of students scoring "advanced" doubled over the past two years.
WASHINGTON—The future of Baltimore just got a little brighter. Its public school students' impressive achievements on the MSA demonstrate that when we invest in solid programs and policies, and when stakeholders work in an atmosphere of shared responsibility, there is no limit to what our students can accomplish.
Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) President Marietta English and the thousands of teachers and paraprofessionals she represents are to be congratulated for their hard work and dedication to their students. But the highest praise belongs to the students, whose hard work is reflected in these outstanding scores.
The improvement we're seeing in Baltimore would not be possible without funding provided by the Thornton Commission on Education Finance, Equity, and Excellence. Five years ago, at the urging of the BTU, Maryland began using Thornton funds for education reforms to close the gap in funding between Baltimore City's schools and those of its more affluent neighbors. Baltimore schools were able to lower class sizes, secure more school and classroom resources, and provide better professional development for teachers. Over the past two years, we have begun to see the fruits of this reinvestment in Baltimore's public schools.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.